Thumping win takes the side to the third spot
Victory tastes particularly sweet after a long wait. It is sweeter when it comes at a critical juncture of a difficult campaign, as Hyderabad FC found out on Tuesday night.
The 4-0 victory against Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama (Goa), could not have come at a better time. All the goals came in the second half. After Fran Sandaza struck twice, Aridane Santana and Joao Victor completed the rout.
The thumping win has taken Hyderabad’s tally to 27 points and the third spot in the ISL table, behind ATK Mohun Bagan (36) and Mumbai City (34).
The team is well placed now to take one of the two remaining playoff spots available. As for Blasters, it remains second from the bottom, with 16 points.
The men from Kochi began well, forcing a couple of corners within 13 minutes. But, they lacked sharpness in the final third, and clearly missed Sahal Abdul Samad, who has been one of their busiest men on the field this season. In the opening half, they also missed the services of K.P. Rahul, who came on only in the second half.
And it proved a horrible second half for Blasters, which once again was guilty of poor defending. Bakary Kone’s failure to clear the dangerous long ball away from Joel Chianese paved the way for the first goal. Another defender, Costa Nhamoinesu fared hardly any better, allowing Sandaza to slot the ball home.
Just five minutes later, the Spanish striker struck again, this time from the penalty spot; goalkeeper Albino Gomez had brought down Chianese.
The last two goals came from free-kicks, both taken brilliantly by substitute Lluis Sastre.
The result: Hyderabad FC 4 (Fran Sandaza 58 & 63-p, Aridane Santana 86, Joao Victor 90) bt Kerala Blasters 0.
Wednesday’s match: FC Goa v Odisha FC, 7.30 p.m.
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